Art wrote:It’s surprising to realize how many people are unaware of the extensive farming communities that constructed the mounds or how large the population of North America was prior to DeSoto’s expedition in the middle sixteenth century. Since the population was decimated (primarily by disease) in the wake of DeSoto’s travels (by as much as 60-85%) later European explorers and settlers only found the staggering remnants of once thriving Native American societies.
It really isn't taught in schools. I think that's one of the reasons for it. While they teach about Native American culture to some extent, history texts for elementary to high school students are usually very ... shoddy, at best, if not flat out incorrect. When I worked at a library, I would often encourage students to read history books other than those provided by the schools in order to get a better grasp of history.
Most U.S. students have no idea there were very solid reasons why the North American coastline did not get settled till it did. It just isn't generally taught. ((I'm sure there have to be some teachers who teach this ... I've just never met them.)) It's really sad, because I think this ignorance leads to the destruction of important sites, false ideologies about native populations, and ... well ... it's fascinating! Tons of kids in the U.S. hate their own history because they think it's boring.
In northern Indiana, there are some huge native archaeological sites that are well worth visiting if you're ever in the state.